Boxing's Supporting Cast: The Other Important Body Parts
Believe it or not, boxing isn’t just done with your hands. In fact, any successful boxer makes sure to work all of his key muscles on a daily basis. Soccer players don’t just kick the ball, they must be able to run for ninety minutes straight; football players can’t just run through defenders, their core strength and legs must be up for the challenge as well. Boxing calls on reaction speed, footwork, stability, endurance, and many other athletic qualities on a frequent basis.
CoachUp has compiled a list of potentially crucial muscles you need to make sure you’re paying attention to. Boxing relies on so many different muscles and they all need to be worked as consistently as possible. Without them, you’re a fish out of water -- so, take these tips and become the Shark beneath the waves!
It should go without saying, but your legs are a boxer’s best friend. Not only do they allow you to set up your punches, but they're vital for dodging your opponents. Your legs are the most significant factor in a strong and efficient punch. Most of the power generated in a hit comes from your legs, so don’t ignore them!
Besides being the foundation and driving force behind your punches, your legs, obviously, control your footwork. You need to dance around your opponent to tire him out and make him miss. Your conditioning also comes from your legs, so running might seem pointless initially, but you’ll thank yourself later. If you’re in a tough, long boxing match, it is often the athlete that is best conditioned who will emerge victorious.
Hips + Abs
Like your legs, so much of the power behind your punches comes from the explosion in your hips and abs. One of the best ways to tire out an opponent is to attack his body relentlessly with quick shots of force. So, having strong abs and hips will help you throw quicker and more frequent body blows.
Additionally, having strong hips and abs will allow you to absorb more punches from your opponent. If you have an extremely strong core, you can concentrate more on attacking your opponent rather than protecting yourself the entire time.
Having strong shoulders doesn’t just add power to your punches, they add to your endurance. Most often, you’ll see boxers with poor shoulder strength get pummeled as the fight goes on. When they get tired, their shoulders can't hold up their gloves and they drop their guard, leaving their face susceptible to heavy blows.
Think about it this way: the longer you carry a heavy object, like a box of clothes, the more tired your shoulders get. Thus, the longer you hold your gloves up to defend your face, the more tired they get. Get those shoulders nice and strong to avoid those devastating knockout haymakers!
More often than not, proper breathing techniques separate the beginner boxers from the experts. Listen closely the next time you’re at a fight and you’ll hear a short hissing sound accompany every punch. Curious? That is the sound of a quick inhaling of oxygen. Breathing through the nose while attacking leaves you less open to a counter. Additionally, incorrectly breathing can also tire an inexperienced boxer out very quickly.
When some boxers get tired, they'll start gasping for air during offensive and defensive moments. By opening your jaw to breathe, you leave it prone to a devastating punch. If you're out of breath and trying to avoid leaving yourself liable, it will help to inhale through your nose.
(Related: Read about the most fundamental boxing punches here.)
As you can see, boxing is far from just a puncher’s sport. It takes so many developed and trained skills to become a complete boxer. Any successful boxer will make sure to exercise his legs and shoulders, condition the body, and make sure he or she knows how to properly breathe. Make no mistake, if you step into the ring without having worked on these abilities, you run the risk of injury, embarrassment, and a hurt ego.
Thankfully, we’ve got you covered! CoachUp offers a number of private trainers that can help take your boxing to another level. If you’re struggling with your breathing, footwork, or general fitness, consider booking a session with one of our trainers, you won’t regret it!